Politics: Impeachment: Chief Justice John Roberts would be Senate's umpire - PressFrom - US

Politics Impeachment: Chief Justice John Roberts would be Senate's umpire

14:05  10 october  2019
14:05  10 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

McConnell eyes quick impeachment trial in Senate

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The Senate sits as a High Court of Impeachment in which senators consider evidence, hear witnesses, and vote to acquit or convict the impeached official. In the case of presidential impeachment trials, the chief justice of the United States presides.

Republicans like to talk about impeaching President Obama, but there is a far more deserving candidate for impeachment — Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court. While the Republicans in Congress have blocked Democrats from enacting much of substance

WASHINGTON – The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was a busy man on Jan. 20, 1999. The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton was in its second week, and Rehnquist had to stop presiding over an oral argument at the Supreme Court, cross the street, and preside over the Senate.

One of the lawyers arguing before the high court that day was John Roberts. Once one of Rehnquist's law clerks at the high court, Roberts could be juggling the same two jobs as his former boss soon.

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Chief Justice John Roberts (AP Photo). Ready to fight back? The Republican takeover of the Senate is already invoked by Court allies to suggest the justices are merely That was his cute way of saying this time Chief Justice Roberts will be on board with the other four conservative justices .

Judges are like umpires . Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge According to DeFazio, Roberts hasn't stood by his own doctrine. He pointed to former Justice John Paul Legal scholars doubt that impeachment hearings against Roberts would go anywhere.

If President Donald Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives and tried by the Senate, it will be Roberts, nominated by President George W. Bush to succeed Rehnquist as chief justice in 2005, running the show. Those who know him best say he's a perfect fit for the job.

"I've argued in front of him 39 times, and I think what comes across is that he cares deeply about institutions," says Neal Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general who, like Roberts before him, heads appellate litigation at Hogan Lovells.

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

Like Rehnquist – who once quipped that as the Clinton impeachment trial's presiding officer he "did nothing in particular and did it very well" – Katyal says Roberts would "work hard to be scrupulously fair in carrying out a unique constitutional function."

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1. Wide shot of Senate floor 2. UPSOUND: (English) Ted Stevens, Republican Senator : "The question is , will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination

Experts say that McConnell and Chief Justice John Roberts would probably have a fairly free hand in shaping a Senate trial following impeachment , but the contours remain unknown. McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., could haggle over such issues as whether to appoint a

Roberts, 64, this week began his 15th term as chief justice of the United States with a bang. The high court heard three major civil rights cases that will determine if gay and transgender people are protected by a 1964 federal law barring employment discrimination based on "sex."

In the next few months, his day job will include hearing cases on abortion, immigration, religion and gun rights, all on the eve of the 2020 presidential election.

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What's more, Roberts now sits in the middle of the Supreme Court figuratively as well as literally. With the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy last year, he has become the closest thing to a swing vote between four conservative and four liberal justices.

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LIBERALS and conservatives were exercised and confused by the combination of Chief Justice John G . Roberts Jr.’ s vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act’ s tax subsidies on Thursday and his dissent from the Supreme Court’ s decision recognizing a constitutional right of same-sex marriage on Friday.

The Roberts Court’ s latest target is once again President Obama’ s singular achievement, the The Republican takeover of the Senate is already invoked by Court allies to suggest the justices are That was his cute way of saying this time Chief Justice Roberts will be on board with the other four

Balls and strikes

Roberts' last tango with the Senate came in 2005, when he defined the chief justice's role as that of an umpire calling balls and strikes en route to his 78-22 confirmation. Since then, he has tried to keep the Supreme Court out of politics – not always with success.

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In the Senate , selected members of the House of Representatives act as the prosecutors and the Senators act as judges with the Senate President The latter, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, was convicted on May 29, 2012 by the Senate under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment (for

In John Roberts ’ opening statement in his 2005 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee “Judges are like umpires . Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them. The role of an umpire US Supreme Court Chief Justice John G . Roberts participates in the court' s official photo

When Trump criticized an "Obama judge" last year over an immigration ruling, Roberts issued a rare rebuke. "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," he said. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

During an appearance in New York City late last month, Roberts said that appraisal applies to the justices as well.

“When you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms," he told about 2,000 people at Temple Emanu-el in Manhattan. "That’s not how we at the court function.”

In absentia, it would be Trump appearing before Roberts in a Senate impeachment trial, but the chief justice's role is more umpire than judge or jury. The Senate would acquit or convict the president; Roberts would rule on procedural matters and might break tie votes, but not on conviction, which requires a two-thirds majority of the 100-member Senate.

“I believe his presence would have a positive influence on the tenor of any debate,” says Walter Dellinger, a former acting U.S. solicitor general during the Clinton administration who argued the other case before the Supreme Court on Jan. 20, 1999. He recalls the marshal advising the advocates that Rehnquist would be leaving promptly at 11:50 a.m., and "not to take it personally."

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Robert Longley is a U. S . government and history expert with over 30 years of experience in municipal government. If passed by the House, the Articles of Impeachment are considered by the Senate in a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with the 100 Senators serving as the

Chief Justice John Roberts would preside, according to the Constitution. Members of the House lead the prosecution and senators are jurors. The smaller the majority, the less feasible impeachment would be . If Republicans keep the House, impeachment seems essentially off the table.

"It would be fortunate to have Chief Justice Roberts preside over an impeachment trial, because I think he’ll be perceived to be fair and restrained," Dellinger says.

Live television

Restraint might be difficult in the current political environment, however. Richard Lazarus, a Harvard Law School professor and Roberts' roommate when both were students there in the 1970s, says Senate Democrats and Republicans worked together to set rules for the Clinton trial. That may be harder this time around.

“He knows that when he crosses First Street, he's going to be putting himself right in the middle of the workings of the political branch," Lazarus says. "He’s going to work hard to keep above the fray.”

In addition to partisan rancor, Roberts also would have to get used to being on live television – "the very thing that all the justices, certainly the chief, have not wanted to happen in the Supreme Court," Lazarus says.

There was no live TV in 1868, when Chief Justice Salmon Chase presided over the Senate's first impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. That was a good thing for Chase, who had two of his procedural rulings overruled. 

Rehnquist did not meet that fate in the Senate's second impeachment trial, but his most significant ruling was to stop House members serving as managers, or prosecutors, from calling senators "jurors."

In a third Senate presidential impeachment trial, Roberts similarly would hope to avoid substantive rulings, Dellinger says. But he could be drawn into disputes over the admission of evidence or other matters. 

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So by the time Chief Justice John Roberts announced he had died, in a statement that Saturday evening, McConnell was ready with his own Roberts , always careful and strategic, was silent about this vacancy, and he remained so. He knew that the Court would be hobbled with just eight justices

Supreme Court Chief Judge John Roberts leaves the Rose Garden following a ceremony where Neil Gorsuch was administered the judicial oath at the White House on April 10, 2017. WASHINGTON, D.C. - Chief Justice John Roberts faces unprecedented national turmoil as he begins his 15th year

"While they may be overturned by the vote of the Senate," Dellinger says, the chief justice's rulings "nonetheless would come with some moral force.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Impeachment: Chief Justice John Roberts would be Senate's umpire

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